updated 04:49 pm EDT, Wed June 19, 2013
Disputed patent acquired from Siemens
A Texas company, Bluebonnet Telecommunications, is suing Apple for patent infringement in relation to call forwarding technology. Specifically Bluebonnet says that the iPhone 4S and 5 violate US Patent No. 5,485,511, a patent that previously belonged to Siemens Rolm Communications but was picked up by Bluebonnet in June 1996. The patent describes a phone communicating with a central switch to generate a list of options, which are then displayed for the phone's user.
Bluebonnet charges that "the accused features that allow call forwarding have no practical use other than uses that infringe the 511 patent." The firm is seeking a permanent injunction against infringing products, and damage payments, including pre- and post-judgment interest. The case was filed through the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, which has a reputation for favoring plaintiffs in patent cases.
No judge has been assigned yet. The case is likely to be settled out of court or dismissed; Apple is currently engaged in more high-profile lawsuits such as the ones against Samsung, and is unlikely to want to spend time or money on smaller defendants.